May 13, 2017
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v2.1 Reference

The Theology of Louis Massignon

Islam, Christ, and the Church

Anticipating the vision of Nostra Aetate, Louis Massignon (1883-1962) imagined and worked toward a revolution in the relationship between Muslims and Christians, from one poisoned by fear and rivalry to one rooted in mutual understanding and fraternal correction. His lifelong study of the Qur'an, Muhammad, Arabic, Sufism, and the Muslim mystic and martyr al-Hallâj (858-922), who was executed by crucifixion for having publicly claimed union with God, grounded Massignon's conviction that there was a Christological nexus between the two religions. His founding of the Badaliya sodality with Mary Kahil (1889-1979) sought to bring Christians and Muslims together in prayer and substitutive love, and his writings and personal contacts helped to form the views of the men who would eventually draft the statements on Muslims at the Second Vatican Council. For all those reasons and more Massignon has been called "the single most influential figure [in the 20th century] in regard to the Church's relationship with Islam," and his approach has only become more important in the decades since his passing.

In The Theology of Louis Massignon, author Christian Krokus argues that Massignon's achievements in Christian-Muslim understanding, his activism on behalf of Muslim immigrants, refugees, and Middle Eastern Christians, as well as his developing understanding of Islam must be understood in the light of his Catholic convictions in relation to God, Christ, and the Church. With ample references to primary works, many translated into English for the first time, Krokus offers a comprehensive account of the main points of Massignon's religious thought that will prove essential to theologians and historians working on questions of Christian-Muslim dialogue, comparative theology, and religious pluralism. As global tensions between Christians and Muslims rise, the learned, religious, and humanizing vision of Louis Massignon is urgently needed.

About the Authors

Christian S. Krokus is associate professor of theology at the University of Scranton


"In The Theology of Louis Massignon, Krokus offers a masterful and sympathetic - though not uncritical - account of Massignon's thought, the surface of which has only been skimmed in this review. In an age regrettably marked by considerable tensions between Christians and Muslims, his presentation of Massignon's theological vision offers an important scholarly resource for thinking through the relations of the Catholic Church and Islam. This book richly deserves a place on the shelves of all academic libraries collecing in the field of theology and Islamic studies."—Thomas M. Dousa, Catholic Library World

"The book offers a comprehensive study of the life and thought of Louis Massignon (1883-1962). It is a welcome contribution by bringing attention to one of the pioneers of comparative theology heretofore not readily available in English. It is a revised dissertation by one of the most talented and promising younger scholars to come from Boston College. The study is intelligent, scholarly, methodical, and subty revolutionary...It is revolutionary in two respects: (1) in its elevation of Islam as part of the Abrahamic family it makes plausible to Christians the genuine revelation of the Prophet; and (2) the creative and exploratory methods M. offers present clues to a wau forward in a current context where comparative theologians have reached a methodological impasse in relationship to systematic theology. This book is not a quick read but the gems found along the way are worth the pace. As a pioneering elite, one who could like in two world, M. is an example that all Christians should study. K. gives the scholarly community a gift with this book. I hope it is the first of more to follow."—Dadosky, John, Theological Studies

"The book offers a comprehensive study of the life and thought of Louis Massignon. It is a revised dissertation by one of the most talented and promising younger scholars to come from Boston College The study is intelligent, scholarly, methodical, and subtly revolutionary."—John Dadosky, Regis College/University of Toronto, Theological Studies

"The Theology of Louis Massignon is a long-needed and welcome work of scholarship that calls fresh attention to Louis Massignon, a foremost Islamic scholar of the twentieth century and a pioneer in the Catholic study of Islamic theology and mysticism. Massignon went deep into the study of Islamic mysticism, even while deepening his own faith; with insight and sensitivity, Krokus in turn explains how scholarship, spirituality, and the appropriation of Catholic tradition very much belonged together in Massignon's remarkable life's work. Even readers not engaged in the study of Islam will be grateful for the light Krokus sheds on interreligious learning in today's world. -"—Francis X. Clooney, SJ, Parkman Professor of Divinity, Harvard University

"The Theology of Louis Massignon provides extensive and insightful critical analyses of Massignon's experiential understanding and spiritual imitation of Christ in sacrificial love, particularly in relation to Muslims. The current crisis of the Muslim world and its impact on the relationship between Christians and Muslims make Christian Krokus's work all the more urgently relevant."—Patrick Laude, Georgetown University

"Christian Krokus has provided us with the first systematic exposition in English of the complex theological and spiritual significance of the thought of Louis Massignon, the great French Islamicist. In a time of rampant Islamophobia in the West, this book boldly proclaims the possibility of genuine Islamophilia as the only valid Christian approach to Muslims and their faith. I recommend this book with the greatest enthusiasm."—Patrick J. Ryan, SJ, Laurence J. McGinley Professor of Religion and Society, Fordham University

"Given the current crisis in the Muslim world as well as the abundance of misinformation and lack of education about Muslims and the teachings of Islam that continue to create a strained relationship between Christians and Muslims, Massignon's compassionate approach and theologically sound research serve as a model and a welcome sign of hope today... This is an exploration of the mind and heart of an extraordinarily gifted and precise scholar. A careful reading and slow digestion of this thoughtfully researched text by Christian Krokus is well worth the effort."—Church History

9780813229461 : the-theology-of-louis-massignon-krokus-krokus
272 Pages
$65.00 USD

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